Empey Lecture

The annual Empey Lecture hosted by the Department of Human Ecology focuses on research topics in aging, gerontology, family ecology, textiles, nutrition, family relationships and material culture.

2024 Empey Lecture: Re-imagining solutions for gender equality in a time of crisis 

Thursday, April 11 at 5 p.m. MDT at the Telus International Centre 

Gender equality remains an urgent and an under-actioned global priority, yet there is a sense of intensified polarization on gender equality around the world and within multilateral spaces. Tensions between human rights and development are at the center of this friction. Ahead of Beijing+30 in 2025, how do we foster a global movement for urgent action and accountability for gender equality without compromising on the systemic changes that are needed to guarantee human rights for all women and girls in all their diversity? How do we continue to prioritize gender equality during crises, including the climate crisis and conflicts? In this presentation, Jemimah Njuki will explore the tensions using examples from work at UN Women, and how we can re-imagine a win-win situation for gender equality and for the world while galvanizing global action.

Our guest speaker

Jemimah Njuki is the Chief of the Economic Empowerment section at UN Women where she leads work on sustainable development, women in the world of work, transforming care systems and sustainable finance. She is a recognized leader on gender equality and women's empowerment, having directed global initiatives promoting women's economic empowerment. Jemimah previously worked at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as the Director for Africa, where she worked with African governments and key stakeholders to develop evidence for transformative policy change.

She led the UN Food Systems Summit's Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Lever of Change and was instrumental in establishing the Coalition to Make Food Systems Work for Women and Girls, and the Global Food 5050 initiative. She has led other global initiatives on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment including International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC) Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GRoW), the Women in Agriculture programme at CARE USA, and the Poverty, Gender, and Impact programme at the International Livestock Research Institute. She has been named among the top 100 gender and policy experts. 

Jemimah holds a PhD in Development Studies and has published widely on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

2023 Empey Lecture 

Catherine Cole poses outside in a snowy mountain landscape

Reconciliation and healing through the Nunavut Inuit Heritage Centre

The legacy of colonialism is felt strongly in Nunavut. Among the many harms experienced by Nunavut Inuit is the loss of cultural heritage, including cultural belongings, artistic expressions, traditional knowledge, and language. Join us for an exploration of the issues and solutions to preserving and ensuring the continuity of Nunavut Inuit heritage.

Our evening includes a fascinating presentation from our guest speaker Catherine C. Cole, director of planning for the Nunavut Inuit Heritage Centre, which is under development by the Inuit Heritage Trust. Attendees will then have exclusive access to the TELUS World of Science exhibition Arctic Journey and its immersive learning experience. Sample the northern delicacy arctic char, and enjoy appetizers while exploring the land and stories of the north. 

Our guest speaker

catherine cole Catherine C. Cole, MA, FCMA, is the Director of Planning for the Nunavut Inuit Heritage Centre in Iqaluit and Principal Consultant, Catherine C. Cole & Associates in Edmonton. A former museum curator and interpreter, she has consulted on heritage issues throughout Canada and internationally for 30 years. Catherine is Métis and has made both a professional and personal commitment to decolonization and reconciliation. She is the recipient of many awards including the Governors Award from the National Trust for Canada for an Indigenous Heritage Circle report she co-authored on Indigenous Heritage and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2022), the Lieutenant Governor’s Award from the Alberta Museums Association (2021), and ICOM Canada’s International Achievement Award (2019). She is a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association (FCMA); the Culture and Heritage Community Chair for the National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA); a member of Parks Canada’s Indigenous Cultural Heritage Advisory Council (ICHAC); an International Advisory Group Member for Renewing Relations: Indigenous Heritage Rights and (Re)conciliation in Northwest Coast Canada, at the University of Exeter, UK; and from 2013-2020 was Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM), a network of postcolonial museums and professionals that reflects on colonial legacies and develops new international relationships and working practices.

Lecture Abstract

The legacy of colonialism and intergenerational trauma is strongly felt in Canada’s North. Among the many harms experienced by Inuit is the loss of cultural heritage, which as the Indigenous Heritage Circle indicates is “complex and dynamic.” Indigenous Heritage encompasses ideas, experiences, belongings, artistic expressions, practices, knowledge, and places that are valued because they are culturally meaningful and connected to shared memory. Indigenous Heritage cannot be separated from either Indigenous identity or Indigenous life. It can be inherited from ancestors or created by people today.

The importance of and need for initiatives and actions to facilitate cultural healing and revitalization have been asserted repeatedly for 30 years - by the Nunavut Agreement (1993), the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Affairs (1996), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015), the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019), and most recently in Canada’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2021). Despite these assertions, concrete progress has been limited – until recently.

The Inuit Heritage Trust, together with the other four Designated Inuit Organizations in Nunavut, namely Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KitIA), and the Kivalik Inuit Association (KivIA), is taking the lead in developing the Nunavut Inuit Heritage Centre in Iqaluit. The Centre will allow the return of the Nunavut Collection, the repatriation of cultural belongings from around the world, and the development of collections-based exhibitions and programs. In addition to detailing the ways in which the Nunavut Inuit Heritage Centre will contribute to cultural healing and revitalization for Nunavut Inuit, this presentation will describe the processes and practices that are being used to develop and create the Centre, along with challenges, successes, and key learnings. 

About the Lecture Series

The Empey Lecture is delivered annually in honour of professor Elizabeth Empey, Dean of Home Economics at the University of Alberta from 1960 to 1976. The lectureship commemorates the many contributions made by professor Empey to the profession of home economics and nutrition. Public lectures are delivered on issues related to family science, material culture, clothing and textiles or nutrition.

Previous Lectures Contact Us

2022 Empey Lecture

A photo of a woman holding a handful of walnuts over a partially bare pregnant belly.


Nutrition and Immunity: Infant Nutrition and Lessons to Combat COVID-19

What if the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to a mom’s diet could allow her infant to be safer from allergies, viruses and even COVID-19 in the future? Our presenter professor Catherine Field has research to show that these fatty acids can be key to building our immune systems and explores how nutrition in the early years impacts our long-term health. 

Missed the 2022 Empey Lecture? Watch it below! 

Our guest speaker

Catherine Field, ’88 PhD, is a Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Metabolism in the Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. Her research program centres on the effect of nutrition on the immune system. Current research includes establishing the role of polyunsaturated fats on immune development, the use of fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and identifying the association between nutritional status and maternal mental health and infant neuro-physical development. Professor Field has published more than 275 peer-reviewed publications and trained over 100 students in research. She is a fellow of the Canadian Council for Health Research and an associate editor for the journal Advances in Nutrition